The council acts as an umbrella organization for a number of other groups, such as the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, African Americans for Humanism, and provides support for Center for Inquiry - On Campus. It also publishes several magazines and newsletters, including Free Inquiry. The council was founded by Dr. Paul Kurtz, who also founded CSICOP (now known as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) and the Center for Inquiry.
The council is a member organisation of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, and endorses both the IHEU minimum statement of Humanism (ref bylaw 5.1) and the Amsterdam Declaration 2002).
The Council for Secular Humanism with the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and The Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health are all headquartered at the Center for Inquiry, adjacent to the State University of New York.